Ownership Solutions Scenario

Because confidentiality is a cornerstone of our business, we never publish any information that may identify clients or reveal what we have done for them. This is a typical scenario that we have compiled from real experiences with multiple clients.


A husband and wife were directors of a farm equipment business. The wife’s involvement was minimal and the husband’s brother, who was an employee and not a shareholder, helped him run everything. The business also employed the directors’ four children.

The husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness. He had less than a year to live and less than six months before he would be too sick to work. The husband and wife engaged us to review the business and advise on succession planning.


The core problem was the lack of a clearly documented succession plan that everyone agreed with. This was the fundamental cause of three issues that could have split the family and threatened the survival of the business.

  • The directors’ oldest son believed he would be he husband’s successor
  • The directors’ youngest child was best suited to being the successor
  • Although the father and his brother were a highly effective team, they had never done anything to develop the competency of the children

In addition, we discovered that a family trust, which had been created to minimise tax, was a barrier to financial effective succession planning.


Our solution focused on a structured communication process with regular meetings for constructive discussions about succession. This allowed the family to reach consensus on who should run the business. We also sought specialist professional advice on financial and legal structures.

Ultimately, the solution had three main visible components.

  • A written succession plan that everyone supported
  • A family charter with agreed roles, expectations, obligations and rules
  • New financial and legal structures


The family harmoniously implemented their succession plan and everyone united to achieve common goals. The youngest son became the successor with an advisory board assisting him for the first two years. The advisory board included the father’s brother, who also conducted a mentoring program for all the children. With the new financial and legal structures in place, wealth and income could transfer smoothly from one generation to the next.

We continue to work closely with the family as their professional advisers.

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